Housewives and house-construction

In Society
Wednesday, 21 May 2003 00:00

The influence of women in the male construction world

The design of houses built under Dutch public housing was, in the course of the twentieth century, not only determined by architects and builders, but also by the housewives in the Women's Advisory Committees for House-Construction (VACs). Their advices to, for example, build in a bigger washbasin or to construct the stairs differently were often taken up. The Maasticht W.E. Bijker and Dr. K. Bijsterveld, both attached to the Faculty of Arts and Culture, investigated the influence of these advisory committees. For this research they were the first Dutch scientists to receive the Abbott Payson Usher Prize 2002. Since 1968, this prize of $ 400, - is handed out by the Society for History of Technology to the authors of the best research publication of the last three years.

Women and embryos

In Society
Wednesday, 21 May 2003 00:00

Biotechnological developments from a gender democratic perspective

The views of women are far too absent in the public debates about biotechnological developments, such as the cloning of embryos for medical-scientific use. That is what the third 'Opzij' professor at Universiteit Maastricht, dr. M. Huijer, proclaimed in her inaugural lecture in February 2003. In the course of the year, Huijer wants to study in what ways women can put forward their perspectives. She herself did a first attempt when she was appointed by setting up a broad debate on the breeding of embryos: the 'gender democratic labyrinth', where all kinds of women expressed their views. Research Magazine asked her about this experiment and about further research plans in Maastricht.

Literature and Charles Darwin

In Culture
Wednesday, 21 May 2003 00:00

Poetry as a phase of human evolution

When you talk about poetry and literature, you don't immediately think of concepts such as natural and sexual selection, unless these concepts concern the subject of the poem or book itself. In America, however, such a connection has led to a new movement in literature science: biopoetics. Also in the Netherlands, the first steps are being made in this field. The last number of Armada, a scientific magazine for world literature, is dedicated to the implementation of evolutionary ideas in art.

Computer excellent art connoisseur

Wednesday, 21 May 2003 00:00

The emphasis is no longer on cognition, but on perception

They scan lots of paintings of Van Gogh. Then, the computer records all pixels of a painting and analyses meticulously small parts of the painting. In a way, the computer looks at the painting in the same way as our brains. Essential for the recognition is the texture, the local structure of a painting. In fact, the computer searches for the personal fingerprint of Van Gogh that reveals itself in his brushstroke! Prof. van den Herik and prof. dr. Eric Postma study to what extent computers can act as art connoisseurs.

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